Gloucestershire police apologise to LGBT+ community for past witch-hunts

It’s the fourteenth police force to say sorry to the LGBT+ community

London – 19 March 2024


Gloucestershire Chief Constable, Rod Hansen, has made a formal apology to the LGBT+ community, acknowledging past homophobic witch-hunts and discriminatory law enforcement.

In a letter to LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, Hansen expressed regret for the harm caused by the often abusive way the police enforced historic anti-LGBT+ laws:

“As Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary, I apologise for the historic misuse of the legislation, which may have led to the over-policing and under-protection of the LGBTQ+ community in Gloucestershire. I am sincerely sorry for any former injustices and the devastating and traumatic impact this would have had on people’s lives and their confidence in the police service.

“Today, attitudes and practices across our force are very different. Gloucestershire

Constabulary is committed to being an anti-discriminatory organisation. This means not only acting in a non-discriminatory way, but addressing systemic inequalities, disadvantage and discrimination.” Hansen wrote.

He added that Gloucester police are undertaking a number of positive initiatives to address LGBT+ concerns. These include the appointment of a dedicated Hate Crime Coordinator,  the Language Matters policy, a LGBT+ Staff Network, the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion programme, celebration of LGBT+ History Month and attendance at Pride events.

Hansen is the fourteenth UK police chief to apologise, following similar apologies by the heads of the Metropolitan, City of London, Sussex, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Gwent, Avon & Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, West Mercia, North Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Nottinghamshire forces.

His apology is in response to the #ApologiseNow campaign initiated by the Peter Tatchell Foundation. The campaign was backed by comedian and TV presenter Paul O’Grady before his untimely passing.

The Chief Constable’s full letter can be read here

Peter Tatchell expressed gratitude for Rod Hansen’s apology:

“My immense gratitude to Rod Hansen for his forthright apology to the LGBT+ community on behalf of Gloucestershire police – and for the positive, supportive and inclusive LGBT+ policies set out in his letter to me. 

“Some people in power find it hard to say sorry for past wrongs. Rod Hansen didn’t hesitate or evade the need for a clear apology. That marks him out as a commendable police chief. We thank him and his officers.  

“This apology does the Gloucestershire police proud and will win much appreciation and praise from the LGBT+ community. It will go a long way towards securing a more constructive, collaborative relationship between Gloucestershire police and LGBT+ people – further building trust and cooperation.

“Saying sorry helps draw a line under past police homophobia. It’s a laudable continuation of the great work the police have been doing in recent years. I hope it will inspire more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual assaults, which is what we all want,” said Mr Tatchell.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation continues to urge every Chief Constable in the UK to apologise for their force’s historic homophobic persecution in decades past.

The #ApologiseNow petition can be read and signed at